Enjoy it while it lasts

Alicia Warden

Fall is slowly creeping up as nights turn cold and leaves turn brown. But the lingering days of summer weather provide an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors before the cool autumn weather comes to stay.

But instead of taking a walk around campus, Ames has plenty of places to go to release some stress.

Several of Ames’ 33 parks are close to campus, including Brookside Park,

1325 Sixth St., and Stuart N. Smith Park, 1501 S. Fourth St.

“You see quite a few [students] at Brookside, just because it’s close to campus,” said Kevin Shawgo, Ames Parks superintendent.

Brookside is located east of the Maple-Willow-Larch dorms and the Lied Recreation Athletic Center, and has a sand volleyball court, basketball court and four lighted tennis courts. For picnicking, the park also has grills and shelters.

The landscape of the park is enhanced by flower beds that are scattered throughout. Brookside also hosts the only skate park in town.

Lisa Johnson, senior in communication studies, said she goes to Brookside often and also goes to parks in her neighborhood to walk, run or study. She said she usually goes with friends.

“It’s quiet and I like being outside,” Johnson said.

Stuart N. Smith Park is east of Jack Trice Stadium. While it is smaller than Brookside, it has many of the same amenities, including picnic areas and grills.

Another park popular with students is Gateway Park, located south of Towers, because of its disc golf course.

Mike Clark, senior in mechanical engineering, said he goes to the park to play disc golf at least once a week. He said he enjoys the sport and has played it on and off for three years.

Reza Sepehri, senior in accounting, also said he plays disc golf at the park. He said it’s relaxing, fun and free.

For bikers, walkers and runners, Ames offers more than 55.6 miles of recreation paths. These trails extend around the city and through or near many of the parks, Shawgo said.

He said one feature of the trails system is a three-mile path around the lake at Ada Hayden Heritage Park, 5205 Grand Ave.

Shawgo said he is pleased to see students using the city’s facilities.

“We encourage students to get out and use the city of Ames’ parks and facilities,” Shawgo said. “I think there’s a lot of options, not only for active recreation, but for passive recreation, too.”

Students are also encouraged to check out the different organized recreational activities the city has, such as kickball and dodgeball tournaments.

“I think the diversity in what we have is a great thing,” said Scott Hock, recreation supervisor.

The diversity offers students a multitude of options for getting outside and having some fun.

More information about the parks in Ames can be found on the city’s Web site at www.cityofames.org/ParksRecWeb.

The Web site offers a complete listing of the parks in Ames, in addition to information about other recreational services the city has.